(Translation of the original Hindi discourse given by Gurudev Acharya Shriram Sharma to the participants of Sdhan training camp at Gayatri Tapobhumi, Mathura)
Let us begin with the Gayatri mantra:
"Om bhur bhuvah swah tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yonah prachodayat"
You all must have heard of the grace of God. His special incarnations entrusted with specific cosmic tasks are called "devata" (deity) in the Vedas; devata means "one who gives". Many of us pray to and worship the deities because we either want something or we need help in adverse moments. Let us discuss about deities.
There is no doubt that deities do bless us enormously; otherwise they would not have been named as "deities" because by definition deities always give something. There is nothing wrong or unnatural if one requests something from someone who always wants to give. But what do deities give? They give only what they themselves possess. Naturally, one can give only what one has. Deities have only one thing divinity (devtva). Divinity is the most refined and virtuous form of ones nature, conduct, qualities and deeds. Deities gladly bestow divinity upon the devotees, saying that, "we have given you the best we could; now it is up to you to accept and make use of it in the way you find it suitable and succeed accordingly."
There is one thing in the world that indeed yields commendable success and that is excellence of personality. It is the minimum requirement to achieve anything worthwhile and fulfilling. If one has somehow gained something despite having an inferior personality and without demonstrating his talents, hard work and essential qualities, then his success will be short-lived. If your digestive system is weak then an excessive intake of eatables is sure to create problems and upset your health. Similarly, if you dot have wisdom and the ability to make proper use of the resources and facilities available to you, then, these would be a cause of trouble to you in one way or the other. If there is a lack of nobility and wisdom then your inherited or inappropriately grabbed wealth will act as a catalyst for your evils and weaknesses; these would lead to pernicious addictions, inflate your ego and sooner or later ruin your life.
What else do the deities give?
What else do the deities give? Well they give you the capacity to digest and handle success. To wisely handle worldly possessions, powers and comforts, which appear to you as treasures of joy, you should have appropriate qualities. This ability the key to real joy is what could be described as an offshoot of divinity. If divinity is awakened in you, then you could accomplish high goals with small or insignificant resources and effort; if you have greater opportunities and resources then well and good, but you would be happy and successful even without them. However if you desire something you do not deserve, or you are eager to acquire success without caring to improve yourself, then, well, what can I say...! God help you!
Vigour and strength of human body is good but if it is not controlled by wisdom, it would become an instrument of demonic deeds, resulting in effects similar to that of adding fuel to the fire. Deities never commit the mistake of showering wealth or worldly resources on the unworthy. If they do, then they would be helping the evil forces to inflict incalculable disaster on humanity. Dear children! "Humanity" signifies the power which elevates and excels our thinking, attitude, ambitions and activities. It is a great attribute.
Attempting to fulfill your desires is not bad per se but is subject to one scrutiny what is being desired and what for? If they are for a worldly (materialistic) purpose then it is necessary to know whether you deserve the object of your desire, how would you digest it if received, and how will you utilize it? Man is prone to make mistakes but not the gods. Deities cant bless you with things you often crave and ask for. Great personages who had living contact with deities did not generally benefit materially. What did they receive? The virtues of humanity, the seeds of divinity. The virtuous talents and powers thus acquired enabled them to progress. The cultivation of these noble qualities has allowed great men and women to accomplish what sounds impossible for a normal human being. With the growth of divinity in personality, anybody can reach great heights of glory in the worldly as well as spiritual domains. It is only the wise usage of your virtues that is important; it does not matter whether they are used in the spiritual or material field. Your qualities, deeds and nature are sources of power in themselves. Where and how to use them depends entirely upon your choice.
success is earned by unflinching courage. courageous temper is a spiritual quality. A yogi accomplishes miraculous feats with its support; tantriks and great personalities also achieve grand successes because of their extraordinary courage. Everyone needs it for attempting and succeeding in something (significant), even if he is a dacoit or a terrorist. If you are a yogi, you will be able to perform difficult yoga practices with the strength of your inner valour. If you are a leader, a reformer, then also you will progress as per your courageous zeal. It is a divine quality by origin. You may choose to use it the way you want.... What is noteworthy or specific in a person is the effect of his inner qualities. If deities bestow something upon someone, it will always be the wealth of virtuous qualities, virtuous potentials. Goddess Gayatri, whom you pray to and worship through anusthanas, will also endow you with divine qualities. What will happen with the virtues you acquire? Well, virtuous qualities and potentials can bring you all that you aspire for. Whether materialistic or spiritual, whenever someone has gained success, it has been attained with his virtuous potentials and talents only. Without the qualities of character and talents one cannot gain anything worthwhile neither worldly nor spiritual.
Man is an intelligent being but at times displays his foolishness more than his intelligence. I don't know from where he has developed the notion that gods fulfill all desires; they bestow the boons of wealth, son, job, victory and what not. Unfortunately, this misconception has entered in the field of spirituality too. This delusion has caused great harm as it has deprived the deluded devotees of enormous benefits and bright possibilities of genuine spirituality. Deities have given only one thing in the ancient times and will give only one thing in the future too. As long as deities survive; devotion (to God) is sustained; and if the regularity of worship is maintained, one thing will be granted divine virtues. If you are endowed with the virtues of divinity, then you will acquire far more glorious success than what you dream of and desire now.
What do you want from the blessings of a deity or a great saint or from the power of a mantra? A job of few thousand rupees in lieu of the invaluable treasure of divinity? If any deity bestows divinity upon you, then it will raise the worth of your job so much that you will be grateful forever. Vivekanand had gone to Paramhans Ramkrishna to ask for a job but instead he got what a great soul like him indeed deserved divinity, true devotion (bhakti), strength (shakti) and peace (shanti). What are these? These are divine virtues. When saints shower their kindness upon you, they inspire unique enthusiasm and optimism in your inner self, which propels you towards enlightened values of ethics and morality. When one is attracted by the soothing wave of ideals and is immersed in it, then his magnetism, his charm, his voice, his overall personality and his authenticity are so overpowering that everyone is impressed by him, attracted towards him and wants to cooperate with him. Vivekanand got abundant love, honour and support from all over of the world. Who showered them? The Goddess Kali. If gurus like Ramkrishna are alive somewhere or are reborn, they will always grant blessings that will develop virtuous personalities of their disciples.
If your personality is refined and has evolved in the righteous direction, then coperation and harmonious association will be showered upon you from all directions according to your wishes. You won't have to ask for them. You will receive them effortlessly. When divinity is expressed in your personality, benevolence and respect begin to bless you. So many examples are available before you. Look at revered Baba Amte! He donated everything and dedicated his whole life for the service of the socially discarded leprosy patients. This is an act of greatness, a symbol of true humanity, a boon of divinity. Blessings of deities cannot be expected by sacrifices of any lesser magnitude than that of people like Baba Amte. And there is nothing greater to be blessed by Begging has never brought anything worthwhile to anyone and will never be able to bring anything in future either. What do the deities do?
Deities keep doing one thing. What do they keep doing? They keep showering flowers. Look at the scriptures. The holy Ramayana, for instance, describes at fifty odd places that deities showered sacred flowers from heaven. What are these flowers? They symbolize goodwill, cooperation, cooperation, guidance, respect and caring. What attracts these virtues? Divinity, which is covertly present in the world. It alone had survived (in the past) and will alone survive (in the future); it can never be wiped out. If the demons (evils) do not die then why should God (the highest symbol of divinity) die? Like-minded people are attracted towards each other. A deity is attracted by deity-like humans and ideals are attracted by ideals; this results in the growth of benevolence, opportunities and co-operation from all directions. This is what has been happening, is happening and will continue to happen.
I am admiring deities. Where do they live? They are present in the integrity of the human character and the inner self. They inspire the motivation and zeal that clears all illusions and breaks and destroys the web of complications, infirmities, ignorance and worries. Divine inspiration compels one to follow the righteous path. This is the true blessing of a deity. Anything lesser or lower than this can't be a blessing of a divine power. The doors of eminence, success and achievements open up as soon as your qualities, deeds and nature are illuminated by the spark of divinity.
Whosoever has gained immortal, glorious progress or notable success in any field in the world to date has accomplished it through his virtuous personality. A deity's blessing consists of supremacy of qualities, talents and thoughts. The life history of every great personality demonstrates it. Almost all of them were born in ordinary or underprivileged families and circumstances. But they reached greater and greater heights and accomplished brighter and brighter goals! Look at our late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's life, for example. He was blessed by God's grace. How? In the form of two qualities responsibility and wisdom. These great virtues establish the linkage between God and the devotee and also strengthen it further. This is the only way to communicate with the Omniscient Presence and Power.
(To be continued in the next issue.)